BusinessDay

Cry havoc and “Buga” dancing at the UN (grime, ruin & remnants) (3)

We are entitled to take a cue from Albert Einsten (1879 to 1955) who although not a chartered accountant (or bean counter) declared:

“What counts can’t always be counted; What can be counted doesn’t always count.”

Nevertheless, the Randle family is obliged to immediately count its blessings while simultaneously embarking on damage control. For all we know we may be at risk of further dangerous oppression at the hands of our tormentors – the government which has infiltrated our ranks and compromised our friends in addition to suborning our foes as well as the forces of darkness.

On 28th August 2022, we celebrated the 113th (posthumous) birthday of Chief J.K. Randle with a Thanksgiving and Memorial Service at Christ Church, 1 Robinson Street, London SW3 4AA. Although now retired, Most Reverend (Dr.) Brian Lethard was there. The new vicar Reverend Sam Hoyle supplicated the Almighty on our behalf as follows: Psalm 103, 1-8 “Bless the Lord, O my soul, And all that is within me, Bless his holy name.

No matter the provocation and battering from the government we refuse to be lured into violence

Bless the Lord, O my soul, And do not forget all his benefits –Who forgives all your iniquity, Who heals all your diseases,

Who redeems your life from the Pit, Who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, Who satisfies you with good as long as you live, As that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The Lord works vindication; And justice for all who are oppressed.

He made known his ways to Moses, His acts to the people of Israel. The Lord is merciful and gracious, Slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.”

Perhaps, he should have added the homily by Oprah Winfrey:

“The more you praise and celebrate your life (and the lives of others), the more there is in life to celebrate.”

In the case of my dad, Chief J.K. Randle there was (and remains) plenty to celebrate – as businessman, sporting legend and philanthropist extraordinaire. He was profoundly passionate about Lagos and was right there in laying the foundation of Nigeria that we would be proud of where neither tribe nor creed would divide us. As chairman of Lagos Race (Horse Racing) Club and Chairman of Lagos Island Club he was stoutly against racial discrimination. He was also the Lisa [Prime Minister] of Lagos.

In his Will he bequeathed very generous donations to both Christian and Moslem schools in Lagos: C.M.S. Grammar School, Bariga; St. Peters School, Faji; Holy Cross School, Catholic Mission Street; Ansar-Ud=Deen College, Isolo, and Ahmmadiya College, Agege, as well as the Federation of Boys and Girls Club.

In addition to the Chief J.K. Randle Memorial Hall, Onikan, Lagos, J.K. Randle General Hospital, Surulere was named after him. So also were Randle Junior School, Apapa; Randle Senior School, Apapa; Randle Road, Surulere and J.K. Randle Road Onikan.

He and others of his generation would undoubtedly be turning in their graves if and when they read the verdict delivered by Chidi Amuta on the front page of “ThisDay” newspaper on August 7, 2022.

“I live in Lagos, the heartbeat of global cacophony and hotbed of instantaneous universal madness. The police want to arrest a young “Danfo Molue” bus duo for traffic offences. They obey the police by clearing off the main street. They park their rickety sunflower bus by the roadside on a busy street in central commercial Lagos. But they decide on a drama sketch apparently rehearsed.

Instantly, both boys decide to strip butt naked, dangling in full view of all on the open street and adjoining market. Someone screams a warning to the police: “keep clear of them o ! When madness degenerates to nakedness in the market, it is risky to go near the naked ones. If they bite you, you, too, will go raving mad!” Spectators gather. Some run in horror. But the policemen looked at each other and did the wise thing. They run away! The Police College never trains you to arrest two naked mad men in the middle of a crowded street. The boys laughed at the fleeing cops and quickly put on their clothes. Mission accomplished. They zoom off in the yellow bus. Lesson: Fear naked mad men in the sun on a crowded Lagos street !!”

It is tempting to resort to Latin: “Omnibus moriendum est.”

(We shall all end up in death).

Regardless, we must weather the storms. Our mission remains intact – to turn the dreams of our ancestors to reality and a worthy bequest to our children and grandchildren.

However, the government (and by extension the politicians) are our major problem and formidable/obstinate barrier to the sublime greatness that beckons.

Fortunately, Dr. John Arbuthnot (1667 – 1735) has provided us with the prospects of eventual relief rather than perpetual damnation:

“All political parties die at last of swallowing their own lies.”

Hence, we shall not always (eternally) be at the mercy of government – no matter how callous, tyrannical, ruthless and rapacious. When the government bulldozed both Chief J.K. Randle Memorial Hall and Dr. J.K. Randle Swimming Pool it was not just on a rampage. It was sacrilege.

Some of us were around in the 1950’s when during the “Lagos Slum Clearance Scheme.”, John Henderson (an Englishman from Warwick) who was the Chief Executive of the Lagos Executive Development Board (LEDB) was warned by the inhabitants of Idita on the fringe of Isale Eko that if he insisted on destroying their sacred ancestral home, the consequences would be devastating. Henderson would not listen. In rapid succession each and everyone in the demolition squad died suddenly in mysterious circumstances. When the casualty reached twelve, it was my father Chief J.K. Randle who prevailed on John Henderson to cease fire before the confrontation became a war of attrition with monumental death and other calamities for those who underestimated the hidden powers of our ancestors.

Even though Chief J.K. Randle died on 17th December 1956 shortly after his national service/duty as Chef-De-Mission of the Nigerian Team to the Olympic Games in Melbourne, Australia, he has remained in our hearts and as an angel on our shoulders. That the goodwill and values he bequeathed have remained intact is truly miraculous. Nevertheless, we must remain vigilant and ever watchful of the latest egregious plot and mendacious scheming to balkanise his legacy and our heritage. We were naïve not to have picked up the warning signals early enough. We must now listen to our own echo chamber as we struggle to come to terms with the tragedy of the Chairman of the Trust conniving with the wayward trespasser and unscrupulous transgressor to dispossess us and thereafter cast us into the wilderness – like the Lost Tribe of Israel.

Through friendship and marriage as well as shared grief we came to believe that our alliance with the Majekodunmi’s was rock solid. What we now have on our hands is the monumental task of rebuilding trust and friendship anchored on the sanctity of the everlasting love between Chief J.K. Randle and his bosom friend Chief (Dr.) Moses Adekoyejo Majekodunmi.

Love is never changing sides. Loyalty trounces everything else. I remain eternally grateful to our mutual friends – late Chief Layi Ajayi-Bembe; late Chief (Dr.) Kole Abayomi S.A.N.; and numerous others who made vigorous entreaties to Femi Majekodunmi to cease and desist. I must add that the adorable Ambassador (Mrs.) F. Adebo-Kiencke and Mrs Joko Olunloyo who dearly love their cousin Femi to the list of peace-makers. Alas, it was all to no avail.

We are now at the crossroads. Thankfully, Robert H. Jackson [1892 to 1954] has reminded us: “It is not the function of our government to keep the citizen from falling into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the government from falling into error.”

In our own case, we are not only dealing with a government that is chasing the wrong priorities and mistaking its friends for foes, we are also charged with the multi-tasks of redeeming our erstwhile friend and brother Femi Majekodunmi. We cannot rely on persuasion alone. We must throw in our fervent prayers.

After the Thanksgiving and Memorial Service, for Chief J.K. Randle we proceeded to the indulgent ambience of the Coopers Arms on Flood Street, Chelsea, London. The abundance of food and drink provided the catalyst for further reflection on the plight of the Randle family. Fortunately, the “Generation X” has refused to be daunted by the challenges posed by unprovoked hostility and acrimony. On the contrary our children and grandchildren have grasped the opportunities to excel. It has been most gratifying to acknowledge amongst them doctors, engineers, Chartered Accountants, lawyers, nurses professors, etc.

It is the Lord that has done it – ever present; always steadfast; and firmly re-assuring leaving no room for despair or despondency. It is truly magnificent and awesome.

They have already been anointed by the Almighty. What we are witnessing is an incredible story of survival. They are destined to deliver the ultimate game-changer. All that we as their parents can do is to encourage them to keep calm and carry on. The world is not just an oyster. It is a global village.

Back home in Lagos, what awaits us is the eyesore of Murtala Muhammed Airport and its stinking toilets not to mention utterly ridiculous, archaic and exhausting immigration, customs, non-functioning conveyor belt in the baggage hall, airport touts and a long trek even in the rain to the car park.

On September 10, 2022 “The Punch” newspaper in bold front page headline delivered its verdict. “50% of Lagos roads deplorable” –

Samsudeen Apelogun, (president, Amalgamated Commercial Motorcycle, Trycycle Owners, Riders, Repairers Association of Nigeria).

No matter the provocation and battering from the government we refuse to be lured into violence. We fully subscribe to the medicament prescribed by Mahatma Ghandi: (1869 to 1948).

“I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.”